Where COVID is concerned, are you ready to vaccinate your two-year-old? And then vaccinate your two-year-old? And then vaccinate your two-year-old?
I'm speaking of doses, to be clear.
A triple approach will likely be the idea, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci at a press conference Wednesday.
Amid discussion of the “development of a universal coronavirus vaccine,” he referenced a “three-dose regimen” for children under four.
ABC News anchor Cheyenne Haslett inquired as follows:
“For Dr. Fauci, I had a question for you, if you could talk a little bit about this next age group waiting for vaccines — kids four and younger — any updates on when we will hear from Pfizer on data? I think you talked about that coming next month or so. And if you could, clarify if this would be for a two-dose or three-dose vaccine, which is expected to be sufficient.”
According to Anthony, third time's a charm:
“In the original data that was put forth, it looked like the dose and the regimen for the children who were 6 months to 24 months worked well, but it turned out that the…group from 24 months to 4 years did not yet reach the level of non-inferiority. So the studies are continued. It looks like it will be a three-dose regimen.”
As for timing, it's unsure:
“I don't think we can predict when we will see an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) with that, because the company is still putting the data before the FDA.”
Meanwhile, count on the Food and Drug Administration's scruples:
“[T]he FDA is very scrupulous in their ability and in their effort to make sure that before something gets approved for people at any age — including and especially children because of the special vulnerability of the children — that when these vaccines become available for children at that age, that they will be safe and that they will be effective. Bottom line, I can't give you a timetable on that. We'll just have to wait and see.”
The notion of children's “special vulnerability” is interesting.
In 2020, age-specific survival rates were reported thusly by the CDC:
0-19 years: 99.99997
20-49 years: 99.9998
50-69 years: 99.995
70+ years: 99.946
That was, of course, related to the initial strain.
It was also before any vaccine was available.
In January of last year, a study of in-school COVID transmission labeled such “extremely rare.”
Where science is concerned, everyone's certainly not on the same page.
“[T]he notion that we have to vaccinate every living, walking American – and eventually every newborn – in order to control the pandemic is based on the false assumption that the risk of dying from COVID-19 is equally distributed in the population. It's not. We have always known that it's very hard for the virus to hurt someone who is young and healthy. And that's still the case.”
“When it comes to vaccinating healthy kids,” he continued, “there is a case for vaccination but it's not strong. The COVID-19 death risk is clustered among kids with a comorbid condition, like obesity. Of the more than 330 COVID-19 deaths in kids under age 25, there's good preliminary data suggesting that most or nearly all appear to be in kids with a pre-existing condition. For kids with concurrent medical conditions, the case for vaccination is compelling. But for healthy kids?”
Dr. Marty remarked upon risk — and not just the COVID kind:
“The risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 in kids ages 5 to17 is 0.3 per million for the week ending July 24, 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We also know that the risk of hospitalization after the second vaccine dose due to myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, is about 50 per million in that same age group.”
Of course, our pandemic perspective — like the virus — is evolving.
Still, as reported by CNN last month, a Kaiser Family Foundation study revealed trepidation among parents toward vaccinating their kids.
[A]mong parents of younger children ages 5 to 11, about 29% say that their child has already been vaccinated or will be “right away.” But another third of parents of children in this age group say that they want to “wait and see” before vaccinating their child against COVID-19.
Even so, entities increasingly want tiny tots stuck:
New York NFL Franchise Sticks a Needle in 5-Year-Old Sports Fans— RedState (@RedState) December 25, 2021
And the age for inoculation keeps lowering.
As for Fauci's comment that the tyke-worthy shots will be “effective,” we'll have to wait and see what that comes to mean.
The term, as you're likely aware, isn't known for its inelasticity:
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